The Bottoms (SSSI)

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The Bottoms
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Country England
Region North East
District County Durham
Location NZ361381
 - coordinates 54°44′13″N 1°26′24″W / 54.73694°N 1.44000°W / 54.73694; -1.44000Coordinates: 54°44′13″N 1°26′24″W / 54.73694°N 1.44000°W / 54.73694; -1.44000
Area 2.15 ha (5.31 acres)
Notification 1999
Management Natural England
Area of Search County Durham
Interest Biological
Map of England and Wales with a red dot representing the location of The Bottoms SSSI, Co Durham
Location of The Bottoms SSSI, Co Durham
Website: Map of site

The Bottoms is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in County Durham, England. It lies just south of the A181 road, roughly midway between the villages of Cassop and Wheatley Hill, some 10 km south-east of Durham city.

The site's interest lies in an area of unimproved magnesian limestone grassland, in which blue moor-grass, Sesleria albicans, and small scabious, Scabiosa columbaria, are the dominant species. This is a scarce vegetation type, which is found only in County Durham and the extent of which has been severely reduced by quarrying and intensive agriculture.[1]

Other grasses that are frequent in the sward include meadow oat-grass, Avenula pratensis, quaking grass, Briza media, sheep's fescue, Festuca ovina, and crested hairgrass, Koeleria macrantha. There is a rich variety of herbs, including rock-rose, Helianthemum nummularium, glaucous sedge, Carex flacca, spring sedge, C. caryophyllea, and mouse-ear hawkweed, Pilosella officinarum, and a small population of purple milk-vetch, Astragalus danicus, a local rarity on magnesian limestone.[1]


  1. ^ a b "The Bottoms" (PDF). English Nature. 1999. Retrieved 31 July 2010.